"His knowledge is staggering and he shares it freely."

—Fred Knipp, President, Warwick Telephone

"I saw someone fall off their chair he made us laugh so hard."

—Leonard Baenen, Vice President, Institute for Human Potential

"Somehow or other, Cliff took us from confusion to clarity."

—Bruce Tsuji, Director, New Business Development, Mitel

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Dr's Corner
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Cliff's Top Ten Books

for making some sense of the World in the 21st century


A number of my friends and colleagues have asked me to update my Top Ten list of books on our www.tooserious.com website. I thought you might like to see it too - so here it is.

These same friends have also asked me to offer some order in which to read them, now that's more difficult but here's a shot at it.

The following is a list of recommendations that directly relate to the subjects I facilitate and speak on. I have read each one of these books several times at different stages of my life. Timeless material.

Before I start…

As you know, I am what is called a cybernetician. One of the definitions of Cybernetics is the study of 'large, messy probabilistic systems', like your brain, the economy, bus schedules - things like that. Having been a student of cybernetics for so long, I appreciate the futility of 'finding the best place to start'. Since everything is connected to everything else, either directly or indirectly, it doesn't much matter. Some routes are just a bit more scenic.

The books can be organized into three topic areas. The first would be Study Enablers. Books to help you with books. One is on speed-reading (if reading is a pain, you just won't do it) and the other is on bullshit detection, both yours and theirs.

The second topic area might be entitled 'What's really going on out there?' These books together describe a way of making sense of that turbulence we call 'The World'.

And the third topic area (which could just as easily have been the second but as someone once said 'time is what prevents everything from happening at once') relates to the Self. That strange yet familiar part of ourselves which, when you get right down to it, is what our precious time on this planet is all about.

I have arranged links directly to Amazon.com for your convenience from my web site, please note that some of these books may need a bit of digging to find them - the search will be worth it.




Cover Title / Author Description
study enabler
amazon speed reading Speed Reading

Tina Konstant

Read and recall more written information in less time, with Speed Reading. Includes a variety of easy reading and memory techniques that can be used immediately.

non-parametric Non-Parametric Statistics

Sydney siegal

Don't be fooled by the title. This book gives you a simple approach to checking for bias in information, hypotheses or conjectures sold to you by others or by yourself. After all, we all need ways to enhance our ability to detect bullshit.

what's really going on out there?
ishmael Ishmael

daniel quinn

This is the first book in a series designed to get you wondering 'How did the world's societies get to be this way?' and 'Just who were those hunter-gatherers anyway?'

guns germs Guns, Germs and Steel: the fates of human societies

jared diamond

This book explores the question: 'How come some societies have more stuff than others?'

nature How Nature Works: the Science of Self Organized Criticality

per bak

This book sets out a framework for thinking about 'How come everything seems so turbulent, lumpy, sudden and chaotic?'

nonzero Non Zero

robert wright

This book will take everything you have read so far and offer a simple yet compelling game that seems to have been designed to be at the heart of everything.

dangerous The World's Most Dangerous Places

robert young palton

This scary book offers you the chance to take everything you have read and begin to see the patterns underlying the events in today's real world.

As I said earlier this topic could have come second rather than third. I may as well come clean - - this topic is what Life is really about in my opinion. And if importance is important, then this is important.
Nap Note Napkin Notes: on the Art of Living

G. Michael Durst

Durst gets you wondering about 'How come my life isn't as much fun as I thought it was going to be?' He puts the responsibility for our own life back on our own shoulders. Very annoying.

Golden Flower The Secret of the Golden Flower

Richard Wilhelm and C. G. Jung

There are many transcendental texts dealing with the development of the Self through the yogas, Zen and so on, but this has always been my favourite because my dear yoga teachers, Eugene Halliday and his student Khen Ratcliffe, strongly suggested that I read it. Thanks guys wherever you are now.

Hypnosis The Reappraisal of the Phenomenon of Hypnosis, Part 1

David Dobson

This is part 1 of a two-part recording. If you like the first part, you are bound to get the second one. Dobson’s work provides a link between the adept and the aspirant. Here is the conundrum: if the Yogi (or Yogini) doesn’t consciously know how he (she) knows what he (she) knows, then it’s tricky to pass on wisdom to their novices.

I leave you with a favorite quote:

'Part of the Divinity of being Human is the ability to choose a response.'

Happy reading!

Please feel free to forward this list to friends, family and associates. I'd love to hear from you with your comments and suggestions on any of the above publications. If you have any questions or if you would like book recommendations in other areas, please let me know.